Poaching Singletrack at Tamarack

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There are not that many ways to get to the resort formerly known as Tamarack, nor reasons to go there. But we found a new way to get there and plenty of reason last weekend, possibly inventing a new type of biathlon in the process: the boat-bike-boat.

Power boat that is. After breakfast at a friend's house on the north side of Lake Cascade, we piled three mountain bikes on his seven-seater and motored across the river in the morning sun to Poison Creek Campground. We tied up the boat to an old dock and headed across the dirt road, over a fence and on to the slightly overgrown trails at Tamarack.

We meandered through the empty but still mowed and watered golf course (someone thought to open up the ball nets, for deer perhaps?) and passed the lodge where one man was firing up a grill and another cleaning the hot tub. We then did a few loops on the singletrack that was once part of this proposed year-round resort.

There were some signs of life, but not much. We saw one family walking around and some of the cabins had toys and wine bottles out on the porches.

Tamarack's trails are very well engineered and it appears that locals are still riding them. There are some fun obstacles, jumps and banks just sitting there (not to mention a bunch of ski lifts and a hotel). There is one crazy jump that you are supposed to land on a vertical wood wall. I prefer cruising through the meadows, wildflowers tickling my chin strap, as if I'm in a commercial for the grand reopening of Tamarack or something.

There are "no trespassing" signs up, but why wouldn't they want people using the amenities there, especially given the public resources that went into building Tamarack in the first place (public land, tax breaks... bailouts perhaps?)

We did not ride too hard because there was one more leg of the adventure. Safely in the middle of the lake, Jet Skis and wake boarders whizzing by we jumped in and practiced a little dead man's float, er, butterfly.

Lesson to speculators everywhere: bike trails don't go bankrupt.